A coating sprayed onto the remains of the former meatworks at Patea has disintegrated, raising the possibility of asbestos blowing into the town.
The covering was meant to contain the potentially lethal asbestos ash from the fire that gutted the works a year ago.
The polyvinyl acrylic co-polymer was applied by water cannon two weeks after the fire, last Waitangi Day.
A year later, there is little sign of the sticky blanket authorities said would bind the microscopic, cancer-causing fibres.
The surface of the ash-pile is loose and blowing it causes dust to rise.
Thick wads of pipe insulation have burst open, leaving asbestos exposed to wind from the nearby Tasman Sea.
The nearest houses are less than 200 metres away.
South Taranaki District Council environment manager, Graham Young said says it was never intended to contain every speck of the dust, and the council is comfortable that the polymer coating is still doing its job.
The council says if things get worse the site will be sprayed with grass seed until an eventual clean-up.